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Introduction

Introduction

For many people, the word “database” conjures up an image of a computer, and a vast collection of information you can only access via a computer screen. But actually, databases are all around you—a phone book, a cookbook, and an encyclopedia are all databases. So is the stock page in your newspaper. In fact, if you look up the word “database” in a dictionary (which is a database, too) you’ll probably read that a database is just a collection of information, or data.

Ideally, a database’s information is organized so that you can easily find what you’re looking for. For example, a Rolodex has information about people organized alphabetically, so you can find any person’s card pretty quickly because you know approximately where it is, even though there may be hundreds of cards to look through. But physical databases like this example all have major limitations compared to those that are stored on a computer. What if you want to get a list of all your associates in California? A Rolodex isn’t organized that way, so you have to look through every card one by one. That kind of tedium is one of the reasons so many Rolodexes are now at the bottom of landfills, and it’s one of the biggest problems a computer database program like FileMaker Pro can help you avoid.


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